Those Pesky Expectations

by | Jul 17, 2023 | Family Life, Parenting, Prayer, Society

Those Pesky Expectations:

Almost three years ago I wrote an article about “unmet expectations.”  This topic continues to be just as relevant today!  As I continue to work with engaged couples, married couples, and families so much hurt comes from an expectation that is not met.

This little thing called expectations does not just creep in between loving spouses or engaged couples, but lately and painfully I have come to know that it also extends into family life.  Now I knew this deep down inside my core, but what I did not realize is that it had flowed into so many aspects of family life.

Family Expectations:

As a mom, I have expectations for my children.  They know these expectations.  For example, they know what chores they are supposed to do each week.  If they make a mess, they know they must clean it up.  They are called to do their best in school and get the best grades they can.  (This is different for each child!)  They are expected to treat other human beings with love and mercy.

Most of the time my kids are amazing.  There have been times when these expectations are not met, and I get sad or frustrated.  It is then that I must step back and let them be the children they are.  Do not get me wrong, there are consequences for these behaviors, but my anger and frustration has to do with me and the expectations that I place on them.

My kids are individuals with the gift of free will.  They must take responsibility for their actions.  Their behavior, or lack thereof, is their choice.  When they make a bad choice the consequences that they face are theirs.

The Shoe is on the Other Foot:

Let’s dig a little deeper.  In the past two years since I have written this my children have aged and are no longer the little babies I once had.  Guess what?  These beautiful gems of mine also have expectations of their father and me.   And, yep, you guessed it, I have several times not met their expectations.

Picture it, COVID 2020.  My kids were sent home to complete the school year at home.  My second born is a creative genius and she took one of her assignments and made a wonderful presentation.  She presented this project to us, and I filmed it.  Although she told me not to send it to anybody, I could not resist sending it to her teacher.  IT WAS  INCREDIBLE!  I was proud of her.

The damage was done.  She expected to be able to trust me.  I expected that she would know that I was proud of her and wanted to share her success.  (I honestly did not think she would be angry…she loved this teacher and they had a very close relationship!)  This instant broke her trust in me.  She was so upset, (rightly so) and this has caused damage for the last three years.  Of course I have apologized and she said she has forgiven me, but she is still gun shy to let me record her doing anything.

What Can We Do:

I know I am always going to have expectations of people.  I am human, and desire people to act and speak in a certain way.  What I have to realize is that the interactions I have with people also have expectations and free will.  There are going to be times that I get hurt and where I hurt others.  The best thing I can do is step back, recognize what happened, and see if expectations had anything to do with it.

If expectations are at the culprit of our hurt, I must first apologize that I placed an expectation on them without explaining it and then vocalize to the offended, in a loving way, why I am hurt.  I then, must in turn, forgive them and allow them to vocalize their hurt.

Expectations are part of life, it is how we deal with these unmet expectations that matter.


If you enjoyed this blog, share it with your friends:

Tara Brooke

Tara Brooke is a wife, mother, educator, and child of God.  Tara has worked in various aspects of ministry in the Catholic Church for over 20 years, her last years as a Director of Marriage and Family Life for her local diocese.  She now stays home and tends to the needs of her growing and beautiful family.  She has three biological children and two adopted children, both with Down Syndrome. She loves helping engaged couples grow in their understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage as well as helping enrich already married couples in growing in holiness together.  She resides in Bismarck, ND with her amazing husband, Deacon Dan! 

Popular Posts